Today, October 17, is National Pasta Day! To celebrate, I’m honored to partner with premier Italian cookware maker Lagostina for my first ever giveaway. I’m giving a Lagostina Martellata Hammered Copper Pastaiola, like the one you see in this post, to one of lucky readers/followers (a $249.99 retail value!!). Lagostina gave me one of these beautiful pots to make my recipe for pasta day and review it in my post. You can get one of your very own by entering to win my Lagostina giveaway here.
Oh pasta, how I love thee so,
your vision makes my weak heart glow.
Whilst your form hath many shapes,
the simple you is that I crave.
A bit of flour, some egg is all,
for silky ribbons that enthrall.
Once bathed and dressed in buttery bliss,
this feast for me is like a kiss!
It’s no secret that my pasta is my favorite food. I’m a pasta fanatic and love to cook it as much as I enjoy eating it. For me, every day is pasta day. But today, October 17, is officially National Pasta Day so I can openly gush about pasta and share one of my most popular recipes with you in hope you will share in my enthusiasm. When Lagostina asked me to cook up a special pasta with their hammered copper pot for National Pasta Day, I didn’t have to think long about what to make. As a professional Italian chef, I have many delicious pasta dishes in my repertoire. But to appropriately honor the name of pasta, I dedicate this post to handmade fresh egg pasta—known as pasta fresca or pasta all’uovo in Italy—to truly capture the essence of what a delicacy pasta is.
For me, it’s more about the quality of the pasta and less about the sauce. Sure, I love a good Carbonara, but when I talk about pasta…I mean fresh pasta. The kind that’s made from nothing more than flour and eggs then stretched into transparent, paper-thin sheets and cut into long ribbons. To make them even more beautiful, I add cooked spinach to the half the dough and make paglia e fieno pasta that, well, looks like its name: straw and hay. Making fresh egg pasta is easier than you think and gives so much satisfaction. I’ve been making fresh pasta for decades and teach special workshops on it to eager students. When they see how easy it is they are amazed. But when they taste…oooh, that’s a whole other pasta experience. They close their eyes, they smile, they swoon.
All you need to make delicious egg pasta is flour (preferably Italian 00 grade), eggs and some elbow grease. The secret is to incorporate the flour gradually into the eggs so they absorb only what they need without becoming dry and stiff. Then, after about 10 minutes of kneading (here you can recruit a friend, family member or glass of wine to help), you’ll have a soft and elastic ball of dough to roll out and cut. For this, you’ll need a pasta machine with rollers. I use both the hand crank type and a pasta roller attachment on my electric mixer to equal effect.
When rolling out the dough for fine pasta, the thinner the better. This is accomplished by repeatedly passing the dough through the machine rollers while reducing the width of the setting with each pass to gently stretch and thin out the dough. Here, these pasta sheets are rolled to setting number 5 on my Kitchen Aid pasta roller attachment for my electric mixer. Once rolled thin, the pasta sheets need to dry slightly before cutting or else the ribbons will stick together. Lay the sheets flat on a cloth covered table until leathery but still quite pliable then cut into long ribbons using a pasta cutting attachment or sharp knife.
These pasta ribbons can be cooked immediatley or formed into nests to dry and store for later use. Thin, egg pasta ribbons cooks up in as little as one minute when fresh and only 2 to 3 minutes when dried. They make a colorful tangle on your fork and are tender and delicate to the bite. I like to pay them the ultimate compliment by serving simply dressed in a silky sauce of melted butter and pasta cooking water, melted Grana Padano or Parmigiano then scattered with sinful shavings of fragrant, earthy truffles. What more could you ask for?
I am passionate about pasta and Lagostina loves it as much as I do. In fact, they created a special pot to perfectly cook pasta called the Martellata Hammered Copper Pastaiola. Made of high quality materials with elegant design, it not only looks beautiful in your kitchen, but its professional level features make cooking a pleasure. The hammered copper exterior gives it and eye-candy appeal while conducting heat superbly and is lined with sturdy stainless steel for ease of cleaning. A removable strainer insert lets you cook pasta then drain it easily while reserving essential pasta cooking water for adding to the sauce is also handy to make stock or boil vegetables. In fact, I used it to cook the spinach for my green pasta dough. As a professional chef, I also love that Lagostina thought to sandwich an aluminum core in the triple thickeness of the pan for uniform heat distribution and it can go from stove top to oven to table. I can honestly say that the Lagostina Martellat Hammered Copper Pastaiola cooks as good as it looks and was a true pleasure to use. Thank you Lagostina, for making this National Pasta Day more like Christmas by offering a giveaway of your product to one of my lucky readers!
**In this video I show students how to roll fresh pasta ribbons into nests for drying and storing.